President Trump gets a lot of criticism on Twitter for his questionable (and sometimes flat-out wrong) grammatical usages — and now he's gotten the red-pen treatment as well. Or, rather, the purple-pen treatment. A retired teacher graded a letter from Trump, and to put it mildly, she did not find it to be suited to the highest office in the land, according to the Greenville News.
"If it had been written in middle school, I'd give it a C or C-plus," said Yvonne Mason, a retired Greenville, South Carolina, teacher, speaking with the Greenville News. "If it had been written in high school, I'd give it a D."
The Hill explained that Mason received a letter from Trump in response to a letter she wrote asking the president to individually meet with the families of those who lost their lives in the Parkland shooting. The letter she received outlined the president's actions on gun control. While she told the Greenville News that the letter didn't exactly address the concern that she'd written in about, that evidently wasn't what bothered her the most. Instead, it was the letter's grammatical and stylistic mistakes that really stood out to her.
Mason corrected it in purple pen and posted a picture of the corrected letter on Facebook, where it promptly went viral. Mason's complaints were familiar to anyone with an eye for grammar who's ever read one of Trump's tweets, which are famously bereft of grammatical rule-following. In fact, the Boston Globe even recently reported that when staffers compose Trump's tweets for him, they make an effort to employ Trump's style, which includes making grammatical mistakes on purpose.
According to Huffington Post, Mason assumed that the letter was probably the work of someone besides the president. However, she did not see this as an excuse for the mistakes, which included incorrect capitalization, redundant wording, and unclear phrasing.
"Have y'all tried grammar & style check?" she wrote at the top of the page. That, however, wass only the very beginning of her commentary. There was also a note explaining that the word "federal" is not capitalized unless referring to a specific agency, and another, shorter note saying that the word "nation" did not need to capitalized, as it was multiple times in the letter. The third such instance drew a more frustrated note: "OMG this is WRONG!" Mason wrote, right at the end of the letter.
"I have never, ever, received a letter with this many silly mistakes," Mason told the Greenville News. She said that she would be returning the letter to the White House. "When you get letters from the highest level of government, you expect them to be at least mechanically correct," she said.
Mason didn't leave off without some practical advice, in the form of a website recommendation: plainlanguage.gov, which offers guidelines to politicians on how to make their writing clearer.
"Language is the currency of power," Mason told Greenville News. And she wasn't just critical of political writing across the board; in addition to criticizing Trump's use of the language, she also complimented South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham's. "Lindsey Graham, or his people, writes exquisite letters. I give him credit for that," Mason said.
This wasn't even the only one of Trump's letters to get torn apart grammatically this weekend. The letter that Trump sent to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un also received the same treatment, according to the Sun. The self-appointed editors of that letter, however, merely posted the results of their work to social media without passing on the grade to the president. Mason, by sending the letter back to the White House, was trying to enact change in her own way — even if she likely didn't have any illusions about a change in this regard actually happening.